Washington - US President Barack Obama urged
Ethiopia's interim leader to boost Addis Ababa's support for democracy
and human rights following the death of prime minister Meles Zenawi, the
White House said.
In a call with Deputy Prime Minister
Hailemariam Desalegn, who is to assume interim power following Meles'
death at age 57 this week, Obama again conveyed his condolences to the
Ethiopian people, the White House said in a statement.
noted that Meles - who died on Tuesday, after more than 20 years in
power - had "made significant contributions to Ethiopia's development
and to peace and security in the region", the statement said.
he also encouraged Hailemariam to "use his leadership to enhance the
Ethiopian government's support for development, democracy, human rights
and regional security".
Under Meles, the Horn of Africa nation
became a key US ally in the fight against Islamic extremism, notably
offering Washington the use of an airfield from which to conduct drone
operations in neighbouring Somalia.